Green Gear Guide: Outfit Your Trip in an Eco-Friendly-Fashion

Gear Guide — By Alexi Ueltzen on April 23, 2009 at 10:43 am
Someone knows how to reuse and reduce.

Someone knows how to reuse and reduce.

As you can tell from this post’s title, I like alliteration.  I also like the outdoors, an area that is rapidly diminishing and changing because of the huge strain we humans put on it.

But I don’t want to lecture you about how much you drive your car, or what organic produce you should buy, or why occasionally using a disposable shopping bag labels you a cretin-for-life.

What I DO want to do is tell you about gear you can buy with a clear conscience. I’m making it easy. I’m telling you exactly where to find products that won’t leave baby walruses without a comfy glacier to nap on, and gear that won’t result in an Al Gore preach-umentary. Gear that embraces those nearly-overused, almost-annoying buzzwords of the environmental movement.
Sustainable gear. Reusable gear. GREEN gear.

Read on for my top crunchy-granola-hippie-earth-lover-tree-hugger gear choices.

Probably figuring out how to make shoes out of old cars. Or something.

Greener than a seasick Kermit eating spinach: Patagonia

You’d be hardpressed to find a more responsibly-minded gear company than Patagonia. They’ve been doing their best to protect the environment since 1972, when founder Yvon Chouinard realized climbers’ metal-spiked shoes were damaging the face of El Capitan in Yosemite. A few other reasons they’re about as eco-friendly as you can get:

– Their famous “synchilla” fabric is made out of recycled soda bottles and milk cartons. Awesome? Yes. Uncomfortable? No. (Seriously – it’s incredibly soft)
– Their “common threads recycling program: Just mail them your old Patagonia, Capilene or Polartec threads and they’ll reuse the material in new clothing. Who doesn’t like putting a pair of old underwear in the mail?
– They’re LEED certified, they have a grants program, 1% of sales goes towards preservation and restoration…(running out of room, but you should check out more here).

It's green. It's Timbuk2. It's in Palau Ubin.

Greener than me when I found out my best friend got engaged to the coolest guy ever: The Pro-Green line from Timbuk2

Timbuk2, San Francisco-based bag company, is known for their signature messenger bags and cyclone logo. What you probably don’t know about them is that they have an entire line devoted to reusable grocery bags and hemp-and-plastic-bottle-based fabric.

Also, their bags are made to last. Case in point: they can survive train wrecks. Buy one of these puppies and it will be with you for a long time. If, however, you show it a little too much tough love and need to buy a new one, their bag recycling program lets you trade in your old one for 20% off your next bag.

I bet the REI employee have some killer parties back here.

Greener than the pool in your backyard after you got back from that month-long vacation in Europe: REI

It stands for “Recreational Equipment Inc” but it could easily be “Ridiculously Ethical Individuals.” Not only is this company involved in tons of environmental stewardship programs, but they also label all their “eco conscious gear” with a special tag. Plus, become a member and they’ll save you some green at the end of the year when you get to use your member refund (usually about 10% of your purchases) for anything in the store or online.

Have another source for great earth-friendly gear? Are you totally stoked to go re-stock you closet with hemp backpacks and recycled soda-bottle sweatshirts? Leave a comment and let us know.

Alexi is a resident gear junkie at NileGuide. Have a question about travel gear? Shoot the gear junkies an email at

Penguin photo courtesy of R.W.W. / Creative Commons, Patagonia photo courtesy of nicolas.boullosa / Creative Commons, Timbuk2 photo courtesy of koalazymonkey / Creative Commons, REI Photo courtesy of functoruser / Creative Commons

Tags: bag, earth, eco-friendly, gear junkie, green, Patagonia, REI, sustainable, timbuk2, travel

    1 Comment

  • vuitton says:

    Plastic surgery, not pigtails, is the only way to go if you successfully want to shave 20 years off your face: pigtails on anyone well out of their teens just looks like a pathetic attempt at girlishness. A single ponytail, on the other hand, is considered almost universally flattering on women of all ages.


Get Trackback URL